SPRING TRAINING SCENES FROM WOODBINE
Courtesy of Mr. Will Wong
QUEEN’S PLATE WINNERS DO CANADIAN RACING PROUD
HE DIGS BARBADOS – The 2016 Queen’s Plate winner SIR DUDLEY DIGGES (Gio Ponti- My Pal Lana by Kris S) came from well off the pace at the Garrison Savannah racecourse to collar stablemate SHINING COPPER and win the $214,000 (BAR) Sandy Lane Gold Cup(Bar-1) on Saturday in Barbados. The Canadian-bred 5-year-old, one of the pair of Ken and Sarah Ramsey runners in the 1 1/8 mile turf race, was ridden by Barbados star JALON SAMUEL, who could entertain ideas of coming to ride in Canada this year. Samuel has now won 3 Gold Cups.
Trainer Mike Maker was not in attendance but Nolan Ramsey, the owner’s grandson, was the assistant.
The time was 1:51 4/5, well off the stakes record of 1:48 3/5.
SIR DUDLEY DIGGES, winner of a minor stakes race since his Plate score, was beating a pretty good one in Shining Copper, a multiple graded stakes winner who was ridden by Rafael Hernandez.
Interestingly, it was Jalon Samuel who guided CELESTIAL STORM to upset the Ramsey’s KITTENS CAT, trained by Mike Maker, in the Spa Sprint Trophy (Bar-1) earlier on the card.
CELESTIAL STORM is a gray filly by Get Stormy from raging Storm by Unbridled Energy.
Samuel also won the Tanglewood Stakes (Bar-1) on the Carpe Diem horse NORTHERN STAR
WILL JALON SAMUEL BE NEWEST JOCKEY TO TRY THE WOODBINE SCENE?
The Woodbine jockey colony has been a haven for riders coming from many parts of the world and another one could be invading this year. JALON SAMUEL, winner of his 4th Barbados Gold Cup when he piloted Canadian-bred SIR DUDLEY DIGGES to victory is reportedly keen to come. With Sir Dudley Digges heading to Woodbine and trainer Mike Maker’s string of horse in Bar 3, Sammuel could very well be looking for some business in Toronto.
Luis Contreras, Alan Garcia and Rafael Hernandez are just a few of the riders at Woodbine who have got their careers going stronger by relocating to Woodbine.
RACING’S QUEEN HEADED TO ENGLAND
June 19 Queen Anne Stakes next for Winx, maybe
“I think if she’s at her very best, she’s a great chance of going but anything less than that, she’s a great chance of not going,” Waller told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We want our darling to tell us what she wants to do and how the next stage of her life goes.”- – trainer Chris Waller of Winx
Read more here.
QUEEN’S PLATE WINTERBOOK FAVOURITE ENTERED THIS WEEK
TELEKINESIS, installed as the Plate winterbook favourite by Woodbine, is entered in an allowance/optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on Friday. The son of Ghostzapper (sire of last year’s Plate winner Holy Helena) is part of an entry posted at 9 to 5 in the 1 1/16 mile race. The colt won his career debut at 6 furlongs with a 90 Beyer Figure.
The colt was bred by Bill Graham’s Windhaven in Caledon, ON.
Thoroughblog’s Plate favourite FLAMEAWAY races this weekend while other major contenders SILENT STING and AHEADBYACENTURY are both working in Florida.
Murray Stroud’s SENT FROM HEAVEN had his first workout of the year on March 3 at Wesfield Farm in Citra, Florida, 4 furlongs in :52 2/5.
CANADIANS PACKING UP AND HEADING HOME… OTHERS STILL WINING
Training for the 2018 racing meets across Canada has begun at Hastings Park and Woodbine and that can make any horseperson or horseplayer feel positive and upbeat.
Many Canadians are still racing in the south, however and despite some rocky results in stakes races last weekend, there were some good winners also.
SMART SPREE is having a ball at Oaklawn Park. The Ontario bred by Smart Strike – Celebrate by Rahy, owned by Trinity Racing and Racer’s Edge, trained by Norm McKnight, won another starter allowance in fast time. Sunday, the 7 year old sizzled in 1:09 4/5 and posted a 97 Beyer Figure, following his 98 Beyer in his previous race. He is 2 for 2 this year and has earned $51,000(US). Norm McKnight, in his first winter at Oaklawn has 8 wins from 42 starts.
Willie Armata sent out High Blackmore’s DONNA’S BAD GIRL to win a race at Penn National on Saturday and now has 3 wins from 17 starts in 2018. Donna is a Giant Gizmo 6-year-old.
Trainer JOHN SIMMS sent out Deb Fletcher’s GOLD SHARK to win a $25,000 claiming race at TAMPA BAY DOWNS on Sunday. The Speightstown 5-year-old was the 2 to 1 favourite and he won by a nose. That was the 474th career win for trainer Simms.
But it’s Not All Good News on the Canadian Front
Some other Canadian notables did not fare as well on Saturday but hopefully will return to their comfort zone at Woodbine soon:
Champion sprinter NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR, coming off a layoff for the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint was last beaten more than 26 lengths while never getting involved. Trainer Mike DePaulo had indicated that the horse was likely a work shy of his top form. There have been reports from Daily Racing Form that Noholdingback Bear will try and tackle PINK LLOYD in the opening day sprint feature at Woodbine on April 21.
Graded stakes winner SHAKHIMAT was unplaced in the Canadian Turf as the son of Lonhro did not get his preferred spot near the early lead. The Roger Attfield trainee stalked a strong pace duel in 3rd (not as strong as the Gulfstream timer indicated of 214/5, 44 2/5) and then faded to last.
NEEPAWA, a Queen’s Plate contender for 2018, was 5th beaten 3 lengths in the Palm Beach Stakes for Chiefswood Stables. The colt by Scat Daddy actually posted a career best Beyer Figure of 80, however, and he was well off a very slow pace early in the race.
Early Kentucky Derby favourite GOOD MAGIC lost his season debut in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park but the colt came out of the race tired and was behind a slow pace on a slow surface. I would expect the $1 million purchase to move forward in the Blue Grass, which is pegged as his next race.
The FOY winner, PROMISES FULFILLED is a handy sort by Shackleford, and he seems to be a ‘need the lead’ type at this point and he did get away with a soft pace in the Fountain of Youth.
The second Derby fave, BOLT D’ORO is getting ready for his season debut in California and he has been working well. He races next Saturday in the San Felipe.
Next Saturday’s TAMPA BAY DERBY, GOTHAM MILE and SAN FELIPE will clear out a lot of pretenders.
This past weekend, STARLIGHT RACING bought into Derby hopefuls AUDIBLE (trained by Todd Pletcher) and the brilliant debut winner JUSTIFY, trained by Bob Baffert.
Canadian-bred FLAMEAWAY will try and double up from the Sam Davis Stakes in the Tampa Bay Derby for owner John Oxley.
The points leaders are below with Fair Grounds hero BRAVAZO leading the way.
Rank Horse Points Owner(s) Trainer Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Bravazo 54 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) D. Wayne Lukas 349,913
2. Promises Fulfilled 52 Robert J. Baron Dale Romans $256,480
3. Good Magic 34 e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (Bob EdwardsDelaney Edwards) & Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke) Chad Brown $1,238,400
4. Firenze Fire 24 Mr. Amore Stable (Ron Lombardi) Jason Servis $567,500
5. Snapper Sinclair 22 Bloom Racing Stable (Jeffrey Bloom) Steve Asmussen $301,810
6. McKinzie 20 Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman Bob Baffert $240,000
7. Strike Power 20 Courtlandt Farms (Donald & Donna Adam) Mark Hennig $199,560
8. Instilled Regard 19 Oxo Equine LLC (Lawrence Best) Jerry Hollendorfer $196,000
9. Bolt d’Oro 14 Ruis Racing (Mick Ruis) Mick Ruis $540,000
10. Free Drop Billy 14 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $467,200
11. Solomini 14 Zayat Stables LLC (Ahmed Zayat) Bob Baffert $436,000
12. Catholic Boy 14 Robert V. LaPenta & Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) Jonathan Thomas $330,000
13. Avery Island 14 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $320,000
14. Enticed 13 Godolphin Racing LLC (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum et al) Kiaran McLaughlin $180,880
15. My Boy Jack 12 Don’t Tell My Wife Stables (Kirk Godbey & Rob Slack) & Monomoy Stables LLC (Sol Kumin)
Keith Desormeaux $402,000
16. Combatant 12 Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (Ron Winchell) & Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $210,000
17. Mourinho 11 Phoenix Thoroughbred III (Amer Abdulaziz) Bob Baffert $149,360
— +Flameaway 10 John C. Oxley Mark Casse $402,260 (currently not eligible)
18. Greyvitos 10 Triple B Farms (Michelle Boghossian) Adam Kitchingman $300,000
19. Audible 10 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & SF Racing LLC Todd Pletcher $208,320
— +The Tabulator 10 Carolyn Wilson Larry Rivelli $186,750
20. Lombo 10 Michael V. Lombardi Mike Pender $90,000
— +f-Paved 10 Ciaglia Racing LLC (Joseph Ciaglia) & Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners (Aron Wellman)
Michael McCarthy $60,000 (not eligible)
21. Noble Indy 10 WinStar Farm (Kenny Trout) & Repole Stable (Mike Repole) Todd Pletcher $40,000
22. Tiz Mischief 6 Frank L. Jones Jr. Dale Romans $70,400
23. Hollywood Star 5 Albaugh Family Stables LLC (Dennis Albaugh & Jason Loustch) Dale Romans $98,500
24. Ayacara (GB) 5 Cynthia & Charles K. Marquis Keith Desormeaux $63,345
25. Machismo 5 Loooch Racing Stables Inc. (Ron Paolucci) & AshleyQuartarolo